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Full text of "The day of our opportunity"

THE DAY OP OUR OPPORTUNITY 
ty Bishop W. A. Candler 



THE DAY OF OUR OPPORTUNITY.* 

BY BISHOP W. A. CANDLER. 

It is, indeed, a very great privilege to have a part in this meet- 
ing, which, I am sure, marks an era in the history of our Church. 
This assembly of picked men is an index of a strong sentiment 
for the cause of missions already prevalent among us, and it is 
the promise and prophecy of still greater things to come. It is 
the beginning of a movement which looks to the enlisting of the 
men of the Church in the great work of foreign missions, and it 
has not come too soon. 

When I have visited Roman Catfeplic Churches in Latin Amer- 
ica, the services of which are attended for the most part by 
women and children only, I have often asked myself the question : 
"May not our Protestant Churches in the United. States fall some 
day into the same condition of neglect by the men of our coun- 
try?" Two-thirds of the membership of our'.Churches are women 
and girls. A very large per cent of. ihese' female members are 
interested in missions, while a very small per cent of the men, 
a minority of a minority, cares for this great interest. If we are 
to meet the "Day of Our Opportunity," something more must 
be done than can be accomplished by the women and girls and 
this small minority of the men of the Church. What we have 
done hitherto in the matter of foreign missions has been through 
the appeals of the preachers reenforced by the missionary soci- 
eties of the women and the juvenile societies. I would not de- 
preciate what has been thus accomplished. Vast and blessed 
results have already been achieved. But no merely clerical Chris- 
tianity nor juvenile Christianity nor effeminate Christianity can 
meet the opportunity which confronts the Church in these mo- 
mentous times. Our "Day of Opportunity" calls loudly for 
a vigorous, virile, manful Christianity. In considering the "Day 
of Our Opportunity," it will be well to remind ourselves of 
what is the scriptural conception of an opportunity. According 
to the Scriptures, an opportunity for Christian service is not 
measured by the number of people to whom one is called to speak. 



* Delivered at the Laymen's Missionary Conference, Knoxville, Tenn. ( 
October 18, 1907. 



2 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

Our Lord found very great opportunities in dealing with indi- 
vidual souls, as in the case of Nicodemus and the woman of 
Samaria. If an opportunity is measured by mere numbers, Paul 
lost a very great opportunity when, by the call of the Holy Spirit, 
he left Asia, where multitudes waited to hear him, and went to 
Europe, where, at Philippi, he preached only to Lydia and a few 
women by the riverside and the jailer and his household in the 
jail, and then departed. His auditors at Philippi were few, but . 
his opportunity was great. The conversion of Lydia and the 
jailer was the beginning of Christianity in Europe, and Paul's 
visit there meant more to civilization in Europe and to the whole 
human race than did the battle between the Imperialists and Re- 
publicans of Rome, which was fought near to the city of Philippi, 
and which Creasy reckons as one of the decisive battles of his- 
tory. 

Again, an opportunity is not measured or determined by the 
fact that a given situation is apparently free of all- difficulties. 
The apostle to the Gentiles, writing of one place, said : "A great 
and effectual door is open to us, but there are many adversaries." 
The adversaries were there because the door was open. If there 
had been no open door, but only a solid wall, before the apostle 
and his comrades, the spiritual forces of evil would not have 
needed to oppose them as adversaries. We may be sure, when 
a good man or a faithful Church rises up to do a great work for 
God, the devil will not leave them without adversaries to with- 
stand their efforts. 

Whether the company to which we speak be great or small, 
or the difficulties be many or few, an opportunity is at hand when 
one is where God wants him at the time he ought to be there, 
and is doing the work God wants him to do. In the light of this 
definition a very great "Day of Opportunity" confronts evan- 
gelical Christianity just now. This opportunity, as I conceive it, 
is indicated and measured by two great facts. The first of these 
facts is, that every form of religion among men, except evan- 
gelical Christianity, has proved inadequate to meet the religious 
needs of mankind ; and the second fact is, that evangelical Chris- 
tianity has the resources, material and spiritual, to meet these 
needs. 

Let us glance at the religious conditions existing now in 'the 
various countries of the earth, and see how every form of reli- 
gion, except evangelical Christianity, has failed, or is failing, to 
meet the needs of the people. Let us begin with the continent 
of Europe. In the British Isles the forces of evangelical Chris- 



The Day of Our Opportunity. 3 

tianity, whether within the Established Church or among the 
dissenting bodies, are the only forces which are speaking with 
authority and power to the British nation. On the Continent the 
countries of Northern Europe are dominated largely by a ra- 
tionalistic Christianity, broken into all sorts of parties, cold as 
to zeal and impotent as to missionary effort and enterprise. In 
Russia and adjacent states the Christianity of the Greek Church 
is corroded and corrupted by all manner of superstitions and 
oppressions. In Southern Europe, where Romanism has hith- 
erto prevailed, the people are breaking away from the Church 
in very large bodies. Even as far north as Austria, there is 
an extensive and energetic rebellion against the authority of the 
Church of Rome. In the old papal States Romanism is a waning 
force. The pope counts himself a prisoner in the Vatican, and 
popular sentiment in Italy shows an increasing indifference, not 
to say a bitter hostility, to the religion for which the Vatican 
stands. Even Spain and Portugal, cut off from the direct in- 
fluence of the Lutheran Reformation by reason of their geograph- 
ical position and other causes, are beginning to show opposition 
to Romanism. In the city of Barcelona, particularly, and in the 
region of Spain influenced by that city, the people are more and 
more assuming a Protestant, if not an evangelical, attitude. 

What of conditions in the Western world, the two Americas? 

In those lands of America where Romanism has hitherto pre- 
vailed, from the northernmost point of Mexico to Terra del 
Fuego, there is religious ferment, agitation, and disintegration. 
Romanism can nevermore be the established religion of those 
countries. 

In Canada and the United States evangelical Christianity is 
the prevailing type of religion. Indeed, in these lands both the 
Reformation of Luther and the Wesleyan Revival are being car- 
ried to their perfection. Those mighty movements of former 
centuries are still going on among us under the providence of 
God. The Reformation of Luther and his contemporaries had 
but small effect on Southern Europe, but now a vast body of 
immigrants are coming from Southern Europe to America and 
meeting here the saving influences of the Lutheran Reformation, 
raised to their highest power by the added force of the Wesleyan 
Revival. The Wesleyan Revival found it easier to leap across 
the Atlantic Ocean to the American continent than to pass over 
the English Channel or the German Ocean to the continent of 
Europe ; and just because the Lutheran Reformation in Northern 
Europe never reached the height of spirituality and power at- 



4 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

tained by the English-speaking people through the Wesleyan 
Revival, the Christianity of Northern and Central Europe has 
sunk into a soulless and sinewless rationalism. Immigrants to 
America from these lands of Northern and Central Europe find 
in the Western world the evangelical Christianity which rescues 
them from rationalism and enrolls them among those evangelical 
forces which propose the conquest of the world for Christ. 

Thus we see from this hasty review of Europe and America 
that the evangelical Christianity of Great Britain and the United 
States is the only really vital, buoyant, and conquering force in 
Christendom. It was a very significant fact that in the great 
Missionary Conference which met in the city of New York in 
the spring of the year 1900 an overwhelming majority of the 
membership was from the possessions of Great Britain and the 
United States. It is also significant that of the twenty-one mil- 
lions of dollars which were contributed last year to the cause 
of foreign missions more than eighteen millions came from 
Great Britain and our own country. 

Let us now pass beyond the limits of what is commonly called 
Christendom. What hope for the race does Mohammedanism hold 
forth ? The religion of the false prophet of Arabia is no longer 
progressive. Strongly organized by its fatalistic tendencies and 
its union with 'a political despotism, it might be expected to have 
some power, and it does have power; but it makes no progress, 
and it is not Holding its own in the lands which it claims. The 
government of Turkey is the stronghold of Mohammedanism, 
and we call the "Unspeakable Turk" the "Sick Man of the 
East." He is the sick man of the East because his heart is dis- 
eased and his circulation is bad, which is another way of saying 
that the spiritual forces at the center of his system are defiled 
and enfevered. 

If we pass on to India, we observe the ancient faiths there 
weary, wasted, and ready to die. 

When we come to China, somewhat similar conditions meet us. 
The Chinese are a proud and intellectual people, and they have 
reason to be proud, if achievements in mere philosophy mark the 
highest height to which human nature can rise. In the. matter 
of philosophy, Confucius and those who have come after hjm 
have done as well as the human intellect can ever be expected 
to do. But the China which Confucianism, Buddhism, and Tao- 
ism have made has been weighed in the balances by its own 
people and found wanting. First the war with Japan and then 
the war between Japan and Russia forced the Chinese people to 



The Day of Our Opportunity. 5 

see that their ancient civilization cannot stand the stress of modern 
times. And for this cause the whole nation is now crying out 
for what they call the "Western Learning." There is not a mis- 
sion school nor any other school in all China which can give any 
sort of show of ability to impart the "Western Learning" that is 
not crowded with pupils. When I was there, a year ago, the 
Buddhist temples in many places were being converted into school- 
houses. The teacher, and not the Taoist priest, has now the ear 
of China. Their venerable sage, Confucius, no longer commands 
the esteem which his teachings enjoyed in former times. China 
stretches out her hand to Great Britain and the United States, 
calling for the "Western Learning," and she cannot get that 
learning without taking with it the Christianity which gave it 
birth, and without which it cannot live in any land. What a 
"Day of Opportunity" for evangelical Christianity has thus 
dawned in the Celestial Empire ! 

In Japan the situation is somewhat different. Religious con- 
ditions there as to their ancient faiths and the Christianity which 
is come into the land are about the same as prevailed in the 
Roman Empire during the years preceding the reign of Con- 
stantine. Heathenism is there, of course. The temples of Bud- 
dhism are still standing, and shrines of Shintoism are found in 
every part of the Japanese Empire. But the intellectual classes 
of the Japanese have lost all faith in these superstitious systems, 
and observe their rites as social conveniences or political ex- 
pedients, knowing them to be without divine authority and with- 
out moral efficacy. The ancient faiths of Japan are dying, if 
not dead, and nothing can restore them to the confidence of the 
people. At the same time the Japanese people, from high- 
est to lowest, are eager for admission to the family of nations 
on terms of equality with the most enlightened governments of 
Christendom. The nation is, therefore, very sensitive to the 
public opinion of Christendom. Let me give you an example: 
When I was returning from China our ship came into the port 
of Yokohama one afternoon early in the month of November. 
The authorities of the vessel announced that we would remain 
in port about thirty hours, and so we went ashore. Among the 
passengers was a Japanese youth who attached himself to our 
circle on the ship mostly because he was learning English and 
wanted an opportunity to practice on us, I think. While we were 
in port the Crown Prince paid a visit to the city, and our party 
went to the railway station to get a sight of him. He was a 
very good-looking young man, dressed about as any gentleman 



6 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

in our country would be attired under similar circumstances, 
wearing a black Prince Albert suit and a silk hat. We got a 
good view of him and returned to the ship. The Japanese youth 
soon showed great eagerness to discover our opinions concerning 
the Prince. He maneuvered a great deal to elicit an expression 
from me, and my reticence was as fixed as his curiosity was in- 
terrogative. Finally he said to me flatly: "What do you think 
of the Prince'?" "O," I said, "he is a very nice-looking young 
man. But," I inquired, "is he the son of the Empress?" With 
my question his countenance fell ; and he answered, rather hum- 
bly: "No, I am sorry to say he is not. The Emperor has several 
wives besides the Empress. The Empress is childless, and the 
Crown Prince is the son of another." "Then," I said, "has the 
Crown Prince more than one wife?" Instantly his Japanese 
pride returned, and he replied with great emphasis: "O no; the 
last Emperor with more than one wife is now on the throne of 
Japan, and there will never be another." The boy was not a 
Christian, but he reflected the enlightened sentiment of his people, 
which is penetrated by so much Christian influence that polygamy 
is doomed in Japan. When it becomes bad form at the court, it 
will be abandoned by the common people. And so also many 
other things of an unchristian sort are doomed in Japan. The 
Japanese are drawn toward the moral and religious standards of 
Christendom »by that national pride so characteristic of them, 
and which is at once both a curse and a blessing to them. With 
all their vanity, the Japanese were never so open to Christian in- 
fluence ; and here again is another door of vast opportunity. 

The case of Korea is different from that of either China or 
Japan. There is nothing like it in any nation on the earth, and 
there never was anything like it. It is the case of a broken- 
hearted nation, with all its hopes blasted, turning to Christ as 
its last friend. 

(a) The nation is hopeless as to material prosperity. It has 
been crushed in all of its industries. About the time Columbus 
was discovering the Western world, Hideyoshi, who is called 
the Napoleon of Japan, invaded Korea and carried away captive 
nearly all of its artisans. From these artisans Japan acquired 
her profitable arts of pottery, sword-making, and the like ; while 
by the loss of them Korea was greatly impoverished. This Na- 
poleon of Japan not only carried the artisans into captivity, but 
he slew with cruel hand many of his Korean captives. In Kioto, 
the old capital of Japan, there is a granite shaft called the "Ear 
Monument," under which the ears of thousands of Hideyoshi's 



The Day of Our Opportunity. 7 

Korean captives are buried, the bodies having been cast away 
elsewhere. The cruel hand of Hideyoshi was scarcely more 
heavy in its blows upon Japanese industry than were the hands of 
Korea's own ruling classes. There is a process in the Orient 
called "squeezing," by which the official classes enrich them- 
selves at the cost of the industrial classes. This "squeezing" 
process has prevailed so long in Korea that no laborer is sure of 
the fruits of his toil, and unrewarded labor sooner or later ends 
in listless indolence and ambitionless indifference. 

(b) Korea is politically hopeless. The nation desired first of. 
all independence ; if it might not have that, then it preferred the 
suzerainty of China, because it was light and nominal; if that 
might not be, next in order of preference it desired the suzerainty 
of Russia, because it operated at great distance. The last thing 
in the world the Koreans desired was the protectorate of Japan, 
and that has now been imposed upon them. By consequence 
the people feel that the last ray of hope in their political sky has 
gone out. They yielded themselves to a painful despair. 

(c) Korea is also without religious hope. In olden times 
Buddhism was the religion of the Koreans. That was when 
the capital of the country was the city of Songdo. But the 
Buddhist priests began meddling with politics, and an insurrec- 
tion arose. The King was dethroned and the Prime Minister 
was made king in his stead. The capital was moved to Seoul, 
and it was ordained that no Buddhist priest should ever put his 
feet into that city as long as the sun, moon, and stars endured. 
Buddhism, thus exposed to popular hatred and outlawed at the 
court, almost perished from the land. And no other religion took 
its place. The Buddhism of Korea for several centuries has 
been mainly confined to monasteries in the mountains and small 
temples at other points remote from the great populous centers 
of the country. To some of these mountain monasteries tired 
missionaries go for rest in summer, and for a small price they 
are permitted to preach as much as they will in the temples at- 
tached to the monasteries. So we see Korea is a land "without 
God and without hope in the world." Industrially, politically, 
and religiously the Koreans are a despairing and broken-hearted 
people. 

This is the impression one gathers on sight of a Korean con- 
gregation. I shall never forget my first experience in preaching 
in Korea. Our party reached the city of Seoul on a Saturday 
afternoon during the last days of September, 1906. I agreed to 
preach at a chapel in the eastern part of the city on the next 



8 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

morning. I asked my old friend and former pupil, Mr. Yun, to 
meet me at the chapel on Sunday morning and act as my inter- 
preter. I had been for a month in Japan, observing Japanese 
vanity and conceit, and dojng what I could to cure that evil 
spirit and to establish in its place the more beautiful spirit of 
Christian humility. I supposed I would find the same sort of 
pride in the Koreans ; but when I came into the chapel and looked 
upon the crowded congregation there assembled, there came over 
me the impression that there was no vanity there, that a broken- 
hearted company sat before me. I had gone prepared to preach 
a sermon designed to rebuke intellectual pride and to induce pov- 
erty of spirit upon the part of any who sought to enter the king- 
dom of heaven ; but I felt constrained to change my theme. My 
mind turned to a text about which I had had an experience in 
my early ministry. In the summer of 1875 I preached in the 
presence of my mother, who held a sort of Confucian view of 
parenthood to the effect that the authority of a parent never 
ended while life lasted. The text which I used was the words 
of the Saviour : "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest." After the service my mother 
and I were alone together, and she said to me in rather man- 
datory tones: "Never again preach on that text until you can 
preach from it more tenderly." More than thirty years had 
passed since that night in the old village church when I preached 
before my mother and the day when I looked into the faces of 
the Koreans in the chapel at Seoul, and in all that time I had 
not preached on the text quoted, because I felt I could not preach 
it as tenderly as my mother's command required. But as I saw 
those broken-hearted people the thought came to me: "Now 
surely I can discuss that text with tenderness, for what else 
than this tender invitation of Jesus is suitable to soothe the sor- 
row of this broken-hearted people?" My friend Yun inter- 
preted for me the sermon I undertook to preach, and as the dis- 
course proceeded his heart was melted and he began to weep, so 
that he had to desist from interpreting. Our brother, Rev. W. 
G. Cram, took Yun's place as interpreter, for Cram is one of 
those men who can cry and talk at the same time. With tearful 
tenderness he told the Koreans in their own tongue the gracious 
truths of the gospel, which I could only speak to them in English. 
The whole congregation was moved to tears. I never saw any- 
where manifestations of deeper emotion; and when the sermon 
ceased, spontaneously they fell to singing the Korean version of 
the beautiful hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus !" After 



The Day of Our Opportunity. <> 

that service I preached to them at several points, in both the 
cities of Songdo and Seoul, but I was never able while preaching 
in Korea to get away from the solacing subjects contained in 
the gospel of Christ. Most of my texts were taken from the 
fourteenth chapter of John, such as: "Let not your heart be 
troubled : ye believe in God, believe also in me," etc. 

From what I have said you will gather the truth that this 
broken-hearted people look to Christianity as to the last hope left 
them. How can we disappoint such a pathetic longing for Christ 
and his salvation? Where is there a wider opportunity in all 
the earth, or one which calls to us with such constraining pathos ? 

Not since the days of the apostles, if then, has Christianity won 
such rapid and extensive victories as its recent triumphs in 
Korea. During the year 1906 the comparatively small missionary 
forces which the evangelical Churches have stationed in that 
land of the Morning Calm have won nearly, or quite, fifty thou- 
sand converts. 

We have now run rapidly over religious conditions and needs 
in most of the lands of the earth, and wherever we have looked 
we have found all faiths failing except evangelical Christianity. 
If this great force is not equal to the needs of mankind, there is 
no religious hope for the race. If it shall falter and fail in its 
efforts to redeem the world, the world's redemption must be 
given up as a vain hope and a futile plan. But the world's re- 
demption cannot be given up. Evangelical Christianity is equal 
to the needs of the world's woe. 

In the first place, the nations in which evangelical Christianity 
is the prevalent faith have the wealth of the world in their pos- 
session. They have the material resources required for the re- 
ligious conquest of the earth. Last year the American people 
by their tax returns claimed to possess more than one hundred 
billions of taxable property, and we may be sure they did not 
overestimate the value of their possessions when they made re- 
turns of what they owned to the taxing officers of the country. 

Great Britain, that other nation in which evangelical Chris- 
tianity is the prevailing faith, has scarcely less of this world's 
goods than we have. Together the two nations are able to buy 
all the rest of the property in this earth. 

Is it an accident that these vast accumulations, this enormous 
stored power, have been given by Providence to these nations in 
which evangelical Christianity most prevails? Has not this un- 
paralleled wealth been given to these mighty peoples to equip 
them to meet an unprecedented opportunity ? Have they not been 



10 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

enriched in purse that they may have the resources by which to 
enrich all mankind in piety? Are they not two great armies 
which the Captain of our salvation has victualed for a world- 
wide campaign to rescue f rdm death an imperiled race ? 

But money is not all that is needed for the work of missions. 
Evangelical Christianity has something more and better than 
money to qualify it for this work. It is a glad and songful faith, 
and no songless or sad faith can ever make a conquest of the 
world. Only a cheerful and buoyant faith, that hopeth all things, 
will have patience and courage enough for so mighty a task. 

Furthermore, the doctrines of evangelical Christianity, capa- 
ble as they are of being known in a saving experience of grace, 
are the only truths which can find universal acceptance among all 
classes in all lands. Ritualism is a local thing, and cannot pro- 
ceed far in any direction without traveling beyond the area in 
which it is impressive and reaching a point where it is only 
grotesque and curious. It yields quickly to superstition, even 
when it maintains its purest forms. Rationalism is a restless 
and transient thing, forever learning and never able to come to 
the knowledge of that truth which truly reveals the unchanging 
God and authoritatively commands the adhesion of mankind with 
its unchanging wants and ancient woes. But evangelical Chris- 
tianity, with its doctrines of experimental religion, is at home in 
all lands and powerful in all times. It can never be local or 
transient, for it ministers to the universal wants of man and speaks 
eternal truths. This is what is implied in the memorable words 
of the Master to St. Peter and the other disciples at Cesarea 
Philippi. When the son of Jonas had confessed that he was "the 
Christ, the Son of the Living God," our Lord warmly responded : 
"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not 
revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. . . . And 
upon this rock I will build my church ; and the gates of hell shall 
not prevail against it." By these sublime words the Master did 
not teach, as the Romanists claim, that the Church is founded on 
the primacy of Peter, nor did he teach, as some Protestants aver, 
that the foundation of the Church rests on the abstract doctrine 
of his divinity. What he taught is that the perpetuity of the 
Church arises from that spiritual life which springs from heaven- 
born faith in him, not originating in the processes of flesh and 
blood, but in the direct revelation of the Divine Father to the 
human soul. It is interesting to observe that when that great 
saying of our Lord had been wrested from its true meaning, al- 
most to the overthrow of a pure Christianity by the Roman 



The Day of Our Opportunity. \\ 

hierarchy, a personal and living experience of the truth upon 
the part of Martin Luther and the reformers saved the Church 
from death and vindicated anew the confident prediction of our 
Lord concerning its perpetuity. It was this evangelical and 
experimental religion which brought new life to the English- 
speaking world in Wesley's time, when faith apparently lay 
a-dying. In the same form of Christianity the whole world of 
to-day must find its salvation and hope. 

Again, no form of religion which does not realize daily the 
personal presence of a living Lord can be equal to the evan- 
gelization of the earth. So great a task exceeds the natural 
powers of man, and nothing but the assurance of the present and 
constant aid of a superhuman Leader will induce men to prose- 
cute such a mighty work to its ultimate culmination. 

When Joshua, the successor of Moses, led Israel across the 
Jordan and stood beneath the shadow of the walls of Jericho, 
he would not have dared the siege of that city except the en- 
couraging vision of the Lord had met him. Then it was the 
new leader of Israel met One who gave him to understand 
that he was only a subordinate in that bold invasion of Canaan, 
saying unto him : "As captain of the host of the Lord am I now 
come." In this vision Joshua saw the Lord himself taking com- 
mand of the forces of Israel, and with such a superior Leader he 
felt that failure was impossible. 

When the apostle Paul plunged into the deep, dark heathenism 
of the first century, without a mission board behind him, or even 
a sympathetic Church, his courage was constantly renewed by 
visions of the risen Lord. "He endured, as seeing him who is 
invisible." 

In the same manner to-day must the great missionary enter- 
prise be carried on. No form of Christianity except that whose 
adherents live in daily touch with the living Christ can by any 
possibility be equal to this work. No second-hand Christianity 
imparted by the touch of sacerdotal fingers, no rationalistic Chris- 
tianity blinded and hesitant, can do this work; only that clear- 
eyed faith which finds in its daily life the fulfillment of the word, 
"Lo, I am with you always," will dare and do what this great 
"Day of Opportunity" calls for. 

I hope I shall not be accused of bigotry if I say that, of all 
forms of evangelical Christianity, Methodism is best adapted to 
this great work. Not in narrow sectarianism, but in honest sin- 
cerity, I venture to affirm so. I am very catholic in my senti- 
ments. I have to be ; I have one brother who is a Baptist, three 



12 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

brothers who are Presbyterians, two brothers who are Methodists, 
one sister who is a Baptist, another who is a Presbyterian, and 
another who is a Methodist. So, you see, catholicity of spirit 
is a household necessity wfth me. But I cultivate it not alone 
as a domestic expedient for peace, but as an essential element of 
Christian character. Notwithstanding I thus cultivate a cath- 
olic spirit, I am not the less persuaded that Methodism is the 
best type of Christianity for making the conquest of the world. 
And my reasons for so believing are plain and conclusive. 

In the first place, Methodism proclaims a doctrine of atone- 
ment which provides for the salvation of all men ; it believes that 
the redemption which is in Jesus Christ is for all, and that our 
Saviour "tasted death for every man." No narrow creed that 
proposes the salvation of a part only of the world can hope to 
take the whole world for Christ. It may be very busy seeking 
the elect, but it will fall very far short of saving the lost. 

Then, again, the policy of Methodism is adapted to the work 
of saving the world. Its preachers do not wait to be called, but 
go quickly where they are sent. There is a great difference be- 
tween a called ministry and a sent ministry. Nineveh would 
have been a long time calling Jonah, and Jonah would have been 
a long time accepting such a call if the Church at Nineveh had 
sent it to him. The prophet was greatly needed in that wicked 
city, but he was not wanted. 

And, furthermore, the Methodist preacher who may be sent 
anywhere, and who I hope will sooner or later be found every- 
where, goes forth, not as a priest speaking a word of human 
absolution to men, but as an evangelist calling men to that 
knowledge of God and assurance of salvation which is found in 
what we call "the witness of the Spirit." Do you know that 
doctrine had been lost sight of and was almost unrecognized 
when Wesley came? When he claimed to have experienced the 
witness of the Spirit and began preaching that great truth, so 
devout a woman as his own saintly mother became alarmed. 
She wrote him a word of warning, which ran somewhat on this 
wise: "Dear Jackey: Beware how you preach that doctrine and 
claim that experience. My understanding has always been that 
it is - peculiar experience, reserved for bishops and venerable 
saints about to die." But John Wesley, who in Aldersgate 
Street had felt his "heart strangely warmed," disregarded the 
misguided caution of his mother, and sounded forth anew among 
men the apostolic truth that no human parent can speak more 
directly to a child than our Father in heaven can speak the 



The Day of Our Opportunity. 13 

word of forgiveness and assurance to a penitent and trustful 
soul. All the world now knows, wherever evangelical Chris- 
tianity is preached, whether proclaimed by Methodists or others, 
that every child of God knows his Father in heaven, not by a 
message from priestly lips, but by the direct word of the eternal 
Spirit to the human heart. 

It is this sure knowledge of God which mystified India needs, 
which cold, philosophic China thirsts for, which Japan, fevered 
with vanity and faithlessness, requires, which Mohammedan 
lands, manacled with fatalism, hunger for — which the whole 
world must have or perish. And it is our business to give this 
knowledge of God to all who have it not, and this great business 
of carrying this gospel to the ends of the earth must be under- 
taken in an earnest, dignified, and businesslike way. It cannot 
be carried on successfully and properly in any other manner. 

As I intimated in the outset, my brethren, I am afraid our 
Christianity has, in the matter of its practical enterprises, been 
too effeminate. I beg pardon of the ladies for the use of that 
word, but it is the best I can now think of to describe what is 
in my mind. We have too many effeminate rhetorical essays 
from the pulpit, and our Church music is often of a sort that 
suggests a light, artistic musicale, rather than the adoring praise 
of the eternal God. Earnest men who have been dealing with 
great political issues or great commercial enterprises, whose ears 
are accustomed to stern war cries, can never be commanded by 
services in which such things predominate. 

And in our financial methods we often adopt expedients equally 
effeminate. A sum of money is needed for a given enterprise of 
the Church, and forthwith we encourage the women of the 
Church to give an "oyster supper" or a "strawberry festival" to 
raise the amount required. Such methods belittle the cause of 
Christ. I do not blame the women. They resort to this be- 
cause they know not what else to do when the men refuse to give 
the money which is required to carry on the work of the Church. 
But, depend upon it, our Christianity can never command the 
serious attention of business men when it is supported by such 
peddling devices. What does a banker think of Christianity 
when he comes home after a day's work in which he has dealt 
with enterprises involving hundreds of thousands of dollars and 
finds his Christian wife and daughter trying to raise some mis- 
sionary money by peddling on a lawn three oysters for a quarter 
or a tablespoonful of ice cream and strawberries for fifteen 
cents ? 



14 The Day of Our Opportunity. 

And the impression made upon the unconverted is scarcely 
less hurtful when in the great congregation they hear a timid, 
faithless, and half-hearted preacher apologizing for taking his 
collection for foreign missions. How often have we heard the 
pastor of a large and wealthy congregation address them thus: 
"Brethren, I have come to-day to take my collection for foreign 
missions. It is a part of my duty, you know, under the Disci- 
pline. I am sorry the district stewards have assessed our Church 
more than its share, but we must try to raise it!" That sort of 
apologetic presentation of so great a cause is a reproach to the 
Church and an offense to God. Often the smallness of the 
amount for which we ask to carry on this tremendous work is 
a surprise to men accustomed to large figures in business. They 
cannot possibly understand how a world-wide campaign can be 
projected on a two-penny basis. If a man were to ask me to 
give him twenty-five cents to buy a horse, I would not do it, be- 
cause I know no such sum will pay any appreciable part of the 
price of a horse. I would rather give him twenty-five dollars 
for such a purpose than to give him twenty-five cents. And many 
a business man will hear an appeal for a hundred dollars for 
the cause of missions who would be utterly indifferent to a 
request for one dollar. He argues, and argues correctly, that 
the Church cannot do such a work with such a sum, and that 
if such a cause needs only one dollar from him it can probably 
get on without that. Our preachers should learn to make ap- 
peals for amounts commensurate with the cause, and they should 
press these appeals with a courage and confidence worthy of the 
Christianity they profess. Let them not come to the pulpit with 
apologies upon their lips, but rather let them come speaking 
authoritatively, saying to the owners of hoarded treasure: "The 
Lord hath need." Let them put this great cause upon no lower 
basis than that it is the will of God concerning us, and that it 
is a high privilege to do the will of God. 

We want no appeals to sectarian ambition or ecclesiastical 
pride. Sometimes we hear it said from the pulpit : "Our Church 
must enter this field or occupy that station because if we do not 
some other Church will." Such a consideration is not proper 
ground for our entering any place whatsoever. If any other 
Church could save the world or any part of the world without 
our aid, by all means let us bid such a Church Godspeed.- Let 
us base our appeals for doing this work on the higher and truer 
ground that without our efforts the salvation of the world will 
be delayed, if not prevented. 



The Day of Our Opportunity. 15 

I am glad to have before me a company of men to whom I can 
speak thus plainly without giving offense. You are picked men, 
and you will not misunderstand me. I pray you go back home, 
and by both your precept and example tell our preachers and 
our people that the Lord's business must henceforth be conducted 
in a nobler fashion. Tell them that an enterprise projected to 
lift into light the whole world that lieth in darkness calls for the 
highest self-sacrifice. And tell them also that our welfare, as 
well as our duty, is involved. This whole world must soon be 
all pagan or all Christian. The ends of the earth have been 
brought together by the modern inventions of transportation and 
communication. When Mr. Jefferson was President of the Unit- 
ed States he put forth the idea, which Mr. Lincoln subsequently 
more fully elaborated, to the effect that our country must sooner 
or later be all free soil or all slave territory. At that time the 
proposition was doubted and debated ; but in the end we have seen 
that it was absolutely sound, and that the result was inevitable. 
I say to you now that the whole earth must soon be all Christian 
or all anti-Christian. Peking, China, is to all intents and pur- 
poses nearer to Washington City now than was New Orleans 
when Mr. Jefferson was President. Indeed, you know that 
General Jackson and General Pakenham fought the battle of 
New Orleans after the War of 1812 was over. The treaty of 
peace between the United States and Great Britain had been 
signed some days before the belligerents met in deadly conflict 
near the mouth of the Mississippi. Both of them were too far 
away from the seats of their governments to be informed that 
the war was over, and so they fought a bloody battle in time 
of peace. But when the battles of the allies were fought a few 
years ago before the walls of Peking, you knew in Knoxville in 
the evening the results of the fighting in the forenoon. This will 
show you how close now are all lands to each other. All nations 
are now neighbors ; there is no "Far East." When I went out 
to the Orient last year, I sailed from Seattle on the afternoon of 
July 25, and I ate my breakfast in Yokohama on the morning of 
August 8. It required less time for me to go from our Pacific 
Coast to Japan than my father consumed in going from our home 
in Georgia to my uncle's residence in Louisiana in 1855. It is 
impossible that with the nations thus close together the moral 
conditions of mankind shall not soon become uniform throughout 
the earth. This missionary campaign is, therefore, not only a 
warfare to rescue the benighted heathen, but for the protection 
of the whole earth, including our own land, against the powers 



16 The tfay of Our Opportunity. 

of darkness. The "Day of Our Opportunity" , is nothing less 
than the day of salvation for the race. But "the night cometh 
when no man can work." The issues involved are so great that no 
sacrifice can be made that will be greater than the cause justifies 
and demands. Let us realize this truth. Our people know how 
to make sacrifices. For sectional interests and political ends 
they made without hesitation the greatest sacrifices of both \>lood 
and treasure in the late Civil War. It is war time in the king- 
dom of Christ now — war time full of opportunity for victory and_ 
not without chance of defeat. With the Captain of our salvation; 
going before us, and with his blessing resting upon us, we may 
take this whole world for Christ; or, faithless to him, for- 
feiting his favor by fostering our selfishness, we may lose the 
day, and a darkness settle on the earth that can never be lifted. 
The alternatives are plainly before us. We must have done with 
selfishness and live lives of self-sacrifice. We must have done 
with littleness and lay hold of great things. We must crucify 
our lust and deify our Lord, or we will deify our lust and crucify 
our Lord. 

Board of Missions of the M. E. Cburch, South, Nashville, Tenn.